If gambling regulators in Iowa are satisfied with the framework they’re creating for sportsbooks, Iowa could be ready to see sports wagers as early as sometime next month. The regulators are expected to get together today to discuss the issue and, if approved, Iowa will become the latest in a growing list of states to embrace the activity. Also on the agenda for today is a long list of license applications that will be either approved or denied.
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds approved sports gambling legislation this past May. It allows bets at the state’s 18 gaming venues and through mobile devices, and the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) is responsible for creating the regulatory framework for the activity. Just as sportsbooks in other states are scrambling to get their operations going, Iowa hopes that it can have sports wagers live before the start of the upcoming NFL season in September.
The IRGC had developed a regulatory draft for sportsbooks as soon as the green light for sports gambling was given. That draft was then subjected to a revision based on feedback the commission received during a public hearing on July 11 and the final version of the rules is now expected to be approved, according to a report by CBS2Iowa.
There is some pessimism regarding sportsbooks and their ability to work within the boundaries of the regulatory framework. The administrator of the IRGC, Brian Ohorilko, says that the commission feels that none of the casino operators will be prepared to launch their sportsbooks in accordance with the guidelines, which means that an actual launch date for sports wagers in Iowa is still in the air.
A number of entities have already solicited sports gambling licenses and are waiting to hear whether or not they’ll be able to move forward. 18 different entities, including Ameristar Casino Council Bluffs and Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino, have submitted applications and all of these are expected to be addressed at today’s meeting.
Those companies that receive approval will need to work quickly if they want to have their sportsbooks up and running in time for the NFL season. The IRGC has set a date of August 15 for the first day of potential activity, which would only give the sportsbooks two weeks to respond to any concerns the commission has in order to begin to take football bets.